Working Towards a Coordinated National Approach To Services, Accommodations And Policies For Post-Secondary Students With Disabilities
Chapter 4: Student Assessments
Students were asked the same questions regarding facilities and services available at their institution as were service providers. They too were given the forced-choice categories of: 'excellent', 'good', 'fair', 'poor', 'not available' and 'do not know' - again, nonresponses were coded as 'not stated'. As with the service providers, some students noted the missing category on the questionnaire: 'not applicable', and others described how the categories and/or features were not applicable to their campus, in the open-ended questions (see Appendix Three). The original version of the questions are included in Appendix Four.
Again, facilities and services were grouped according to various features of accessibility: physical accessibility (main buildings, adaptive equipment, safety and emergency features, as well as accessibility to labs, on-campus housing and transportation etc.); educational accessibility (entrance examinations, preparation and orientation, athletic programs and facilities, assistance with course work and materials, support for instructors, student services, as well as examinations and course requirements); accessibility program and administration (administrative support and policies, volunteer services); and external community (liaison and transportation). Within each of these categories, respondents were asked to rate a series of specified facilities and services in terms of accessibility - see Charts 4.1 to 4.199.
As with the service-providers, students were asked to provide written comments on these features of accessibility, providing elaborations on ratings, and descriptions of situations unique to their institution - see Appendix Four. By and large, these comments represent a different focus on facilities and services, identifying, for instance, specific people that had provided excellent service, or the inadequacy of specific pieces of equipment. On the other hand, it should be cautioned that direct comparisons of quality or quantity of open-ended comments should not be made between service providers and students - it may be, for instance, that a single piece of equipment resulted in numerous comments, or that numerous pieces were not commented on. Therefore the comments should be considered as a separate sample of student's experiences, which may or may not be of common facilities or services.
Similarly, it should be noted that comparisons to numeric figures presented in the previous chapter should be made with caution. While the ratings provided by each service provider in the previous chapter represent individual institutions, the ratings provided by each student in the current chapter represent individual students. Since any representative sample of students should contain higher proportions of students at larger institutions, and lower proportions at smaller institutions, it cannot be compared directly to a sample of institutions - i.e. students at larger institutions are providing multiple ratings of the same institution. On the other hand, if student responses to each institution were compared separately with each institutional response, the small numbers of students from each institution would create much greater problems of representativeness. As a result, potential inferences from the percentages described in the current chapter should be limited to the overall population of students.
This chapter briefly reviews these student ratings of features of accessibility. As with the previous chapter, it is grouped into the following sections: Physical Accessibility of Buildings; Physical Accessibility of Equipment and Labs; Physical Accessibility of Safety, Housing and Transportation; Educational Accessibility and Program Intake; Educational Accessibility and Special Programs; Educational Accessibility and Materials/Coursework Accommodations; Accessibility Programs, Administration and Volunteers; and Accessibility of External Community.
A. Physical Accessibility of Buildings
Students were asked to rate a series of specified features of main campus buildings on their campus: main student services building; main administration building; main library building; main food services building; and book store. Again, a common response to the open-ended comment sections was to (noting the lack of a Not Applicable category) indicate that one or more of these building categories were either combined in a single building, or that they are not housed in a single building (again, this likely accounts for much of the nonresponse of these questions).
Respondents were asked to rate each main campus building according to a series of common features: identified parking spaces; low grade ramps; low pressure doors; wing door handles; wide doorways; automatic doors; accessible washrooms; handrails on walkways; wide aisle areas; accessible service counters; special services for customers; with disabilities; elevators in all areas; braille/large print floor; elevator numbers; braille/large print elevator buttons; floor bells in elevators; coloured strips on stairs; outside lighting, according to a scale including the ratings: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor, and Not available - see Charts 4.1 to 4.86.
In the open-ended portions of the building physical accessibility questions, some students provided comments similar to service providers, indicating variations in buildings on and across campuses. Interestingly, students tended to provide more detailed comments, noting specific successes, or noting that, while a given facility or services was in place, they had experienced a specific shortcoming or problem. For instance, successes were identified:
† The excellent bookstore has just been renovated and is well ramped. Mobility impaired; University, BC
† [Main library building] The Accessibility Centre is excellent, as is the staff. Medical Disability; University, ON
† Considering [The University] is a small university, it does an excellent job of making accessibility as good as it can be. Mobility Impaired; University, ON
-[Book store] The staff is wonderful. Learning Disability; College, ON
And problems were identified:
-[Main administration building] Must move furniture to get into financial services office. Mobility impaired, Learning Disability; College, BC
† entree avant il y a une place ouverte pour livrer la marchandise (camion) une seule bande jaune indique qu"i1 y a un trou de 3 pied, c7est tres dangereux. Ceciti/Dificience visuelle; Collige, QC
† [Elevators] should have flashing light for the deaf. DeafHard of hearing; College, ON
† Library book stacks are horrible. Makes browsing impossible if in a wheelchair. Mobility impaired, Medical Disability; University, ON
† [Main student service building] Les porte d7entree: ouvre seulement un cate, donc
† ce n'est pas correct pour handicape physique, car cela a un difficulte d'entrer. Surditt?/Personne malentendante; Collige, QC
-[Main student service building] Les boutons de I'ascenseur ne sont pas accessible, trop haut. Deficience motnce; Collige, QC
† [ B o o k store] Difficult to access interior with wheelchair (too congested). Signage not good -- too small to look for books for your courses. Blindb'isually impaired; University, A tlantic Canada
† Certains salles de bain sont dites "accessible" mais ne le sont pas! I1 faut faire des longs detours pour en trouver. Aux cafeterias, il faut entrer par la sortie (caisses). Le nouveau complexe sportive (hiver 97) n'offre aucun service adapte. Une chance qu"i1 y a le Service dYint6gration aux etudiants handicapes (SIPH). Mais les locaux sont trop petits. 11s ne peuvent installer tout leur l'equipement. Ddficience motrice; Universite, QC
In the case of the ratings, as with the service providers, students often rated certain building features as Good or Excellent, and also provided ratings of Poor or Not Available in the case of specific features.
For example, many students rated identified parking as either Good or Excellent: Main Student Services Building - 51% (1771349) (Chart 4.7); Administration Building - 43% (1511349) (Chart 4.18); Library - 33% (1161349) (Chart 4.41); Food - 28% (981349) (Chart 4.59); Book Store - 31% (1061349) (Chart 4.76). The rating of Poor is similar across the identified parking of different buildings. For instance: Main Student Services Building - 5% (171349) (Chart 4.7); Administration Building - 6% (221349) (Chart 4.18); Library - 7% (251349) (Chart 4.41); Food - 7% (231349) (Chart 4.59); Book Store - 7% (231349) (Chart 4.76).
However, these ratings were accompanied by specific comments. With respect to open-ended responses to assessments of identified parking, students identified some shortcomings. For instance:
-[Main administration building] Parking always taken by cars without proper ID; Only two accessible washrooms that everyone (ie. able-bodied students) uses. Mobility Impairm ent, Leaming Disability; College, ON
-[Main administration building] Should have more and better parking spaces for handicapped parking. Mobility impaired, Medical Disability; College, A tlantic Canada
On the other hand, some building accessibility features were rated lower, or as Not Available by students (i.e. coloured strips, low pressure doors, and accessible service counters). For example, a higher proportion of students rated accessible service counters as Poor in main campus buildings than most other features: Main Student Services Building - 15% (511349) (Chart 4.10); Administration Building - 12% (421349) (Chart 4.27); Library - 12% (411349) (Chart 4.44); Food - 11% (391349) (Chart 4.62); Book Store - 14% (471349) (Chart 4.79).
-Importantly, however, students overall provided open-ended comments that identified specific gaps in or problems with a given facility or service. These comments were often directed at physical (e.g. wheelchair) accessibility but also included a range of other problems:
-[Book store] Aisles too narrow. Must enter when no-one else is in store. Service is great - present a list of books to pick up next day. Could have a day especially for chairs because rows are narrow, plus incoming supplies (boxes) are all over. Mobility impaired, Leaming Disability; College, BC
† The automatic doors in the buildings often do not work during the hours I am there. Are they turned off'? Mobility impaired; College, M
† [The College] is only one building. There is only one ramp and that is in the parking lot to the basement entrance. ABC elevators; Students refuse to grant wheelchair bound students right of way to elevators. Ergo, wheelchair bound people are always late for their classes. Blind/Visually impaired, Dyslexia; College, AB
† [Main administration building] I have some breathing problems; What I don't like is that ... the elevator in one section only goes to the second floor. I have to get off, walk a great distance to access the main elevator to continue to the third floor. Medical disability (Migraines); College, ON
† [Main library building] People must get special key to get to 4th and 5th floors. Mental Health Disability, University, ON
† [Book store] Automatic door works one way only. Why? Mobility impaired; University, ON
Lighting and features of accessibility for the visually impaired were also frequently mentioned in open-ended responses:
† Need large print numbers on all class room doors. Blind/Yisually Impaired; University, ON
-[Main library building] Couloirs tres large mais pas de signaux dam les ascenseurs. CLcite/Deficience visuelle; Universite, QC
-There is very dim outside lighting all over the campus, especially near and on the way to the parking lots. Multiple disabilities; University, BC
† [Main administration building] Need more outdoor lighting. Mobility impaired; University, BC
However, it should be noted that students overall provided nuanced and detailed comments in the form of open-ended responses, qualifying their assessments with respect to their specific disability:
† For physically disabled, excellent. For visually impaired, needs improvement. Mobility impaired, BlindVisually impaired, Medical Disability; College, ON
† Physical accessibility is not a problem for me personally, but I can see where there are potential problems. Frankly the state of the buildings at [The University] is bad even for those of us without physical disabilities. Learning Disability, Medical Disability; University, ON
† [Main library building] Not easily accessible by the blind; very confusing place to the sighted, let alone the blind. Blind/Visually impaired; University, ON.
-[Main student service building] Coloured strips don't stay on stairs very long. Blind/Visually impaired; University, NB
Students often were aware of obstacles to improving facilities, including such problems as the geographic features of the campus:
-There is a hill leading down to the school entrance from the upper residence houses that is very steep. Something should be done immediately to make this area easier to access for people with disabilities. Mobility Impaired; University, ON
-The very nature of our campus, on a mountain side, makes access problematic. Possibly management does an adequate job in this, but in my view, there is much room for improvement. Mobility impaired; College, BC
The age of buildings and the consequent difficulties with renovations were also noted:
-[Main administration building] We are dealing with an old building that doesn't seem to have been upgraded much in the last few years. Blind/visually impaired; University, Atlantic Canada
-I believe all the existing buildings were built before society decided to take care of people with disabilities. Blind/Visually impaired; University, QC
Students also stressed the need for student consultation and active lobbying:
-[Book store] Building very poorly planned. Our society had little input. If we had been consulted first, would have saved money and not had to redo things. Mobility impaired; University, B C
-These areas are improving rapidly after successful lobbying resulting in a five year strategy with funds. Mobility impaired; University, BC
-The new buildings, like the Professional Faculties building, are being built with no thought to disabled students. Many things going into these buildings make them inaccessible to students with disabilities. Learning Disability; University, AB
B. Accessibility of Equipment and Labs
Students were asked to rate the accessibility of: Special Equipment (scanner, CCTV, brailler, 4-track recorder, TDD/TTY, phonic ears/FM amplifier, acoustically treated rooms, talking calculator, wheelchairs, specialized software for students with learning disabilities); Adaptive Computer Equipment (voice recognition, internet access, loaner lap-tops, braille printers, brailler displays, real-time captioning, screen reading software, adapted computer keyboards, hearing assistance software, adaptive technology training, and separate adaptive technology resource centre); and Labs (accessible counters in physical science labs, accessible computer labs, and adaptive computer technology in computer labs). See Charts 4.87 to 4.109 and 4.115 to 4.118.
In the case of each equipment and lab feature, more than 50% of students either did not provide a rating, or indicated Do Not Know - with the exceptions of Internet access (Chart 4.98) and accessible computer labs (Chart 4.117). (As opposed to only 4 or 5 features of buildings - i.e. mostly elevator features - that receive more than 50% Do Not Know or Not Stated ratings among all of the building features in the previous section). This is likely due to the fact that specialized equipment and labs involve types of accessibility features that are required by a lower proportion of students than are, for instance, most building features.
However, another reason for a high number Do Not Know and Not Stated ratings may be that students were not aware whether certain services and facilities were available. This explanation is supported by the open-ended comments, where students indicated a lack of awareness, or need for more information:
† [Special equipment] I don't know if they have these things but would use them if I could find them. Multiple disabilities; University, ON
† [Special equipment] I have not been informed whether we have these things, or whether they would be any use to me. Learning Disability; University, ON
† [Adaptive computer equipment] The Disability Resource Centre helped me to apply to SET-BC in order to borrow adaptive technology, but then the support stopped. As far as I know most of their adaptive equipment and training is for students with visual and hearing impairments. But I do not know the extent to which these services are available. Other-Loss of fine motor control; University, BC
A number of students indicated that they used their own adaptive equipment:
† [Adaptive computer equipment] J'ai un tres bon equipement chez moi [Internet access]. Deficience motrice; Universite, QC
† [Labs] Due to space constraints computer lab wasn't very accessible. I received grant money so I had a computer and printer at home. Mobility impaired; University, ON
On the other hand, where students indicated an awareness of equipment or facilities on campus, their assessments were once again mixed. For instance:
† [Special equipment] The equipment available is wonderful. The Services for
-Students with Disabilities here on campus, along with students, helped raise funds to buy motorized scooters for students to use. Learning Disability; University, AB Computer labs have no ergonomic features at all! Other-Agility (RSI); College, ON
† [Adaptive computer equipment] Have purchased my own equipment, but loaner laptop and adaptive technology training provided by college. Very helpful in accommodating my needs. Blind/Visually impaired; College, AB
Again, students provided details on gaps, problems, or shortcomings with facilities and services that were in place on their campuses. For example:
-[Special equipment] Has not been upgraded and is much too slow to be useful in a crunch. Blind/Visually impaired; University, Atlantic Canada
† [Special equipment] None of the equipment is leant to students unless a minimum of two courses is taken and SET-BC has accepted student's application. Multiple disabilities; College, BC
† [Adaptive computer equipment] For the entire campus, there are only two places where adaptive computer equipment is available: the Adaptive Technology Centre in
† [The Library] (described above) and [The Centre]. [The Centre] has one braille printer, two computers with voice synthesizers and a couple of desks. This room is usually used for exams, although it is noisy, distracting and uncomfortable ... Blind/Visually impaired; University, A tlan tic Canada
† Lack of attention to whether a monitor is close enough or not, height; things like that cause strain when using. Blind/Visually impaired; University, A tlantic Canada
† [Adaptive computer equipment] There is a special room in the library services area designated for disabled students, which is locked before and after admin staff arrive and leave (before 9 am and after 4 pm). The technology in it is ten years behind. The computer is a 386 running Wordperfect 3.1. And the other software didn't work when I tried it. Only one computer. Mobility impaired, Medical Disability; University, ON
† [Text-book access] There is one CCTV from the stone age. Very difficult to use. Blind/Visually impaired; College, MB
Students specifically identified the importance of including instruction andlor training with specialized equipment:
† [Special equipment] Even the people who work for the school do not know what they are able to do for you. Leaming Disability; University, BC
† [Adaptive computer equipment] School will not pay for classes to teach students that need these services how to use them. Leaming Disability; College, ON
In several cases, students provided open-ended comments that suggest an awareness of the importance of physical accessibility of special, adaptive equipment and labs, as well as some suggestions for generalized solutions. For instance:
-[Adaptive computer equipment] I believe, if some of these features were available, I would do a lot better. Blind/Visually impaired; College, ON
C. Physical Accessibility of Safety, Housing and Transportation
Students were asked to rate a series of non-academic service features, i.e.: Safety, Emergency Features (safety policies, refuge alarms, flashing alarms, emergency procedures, and emergency assistance); Access to On-Campus Housing (identified parking spaces, low grade ramps, low pressure doors, wing door handles, wide doorways, automatic doors, accessible washrooms, handrails on walkways, accessible rooms, and attendant care); and Adapted On- Campus Transportation (on-campus transportation, convenient hours of service, and affordable cost). See Charts 4.110 to 4.114 and Charts 4.120 to 4.131.
With respect to the five features of Safety and Emergency procedures, a large proportion (greater than 50% in all but one case) of students indicated that they either Did Not Know about the feature, or did Not State a rating. The open-ended questions tend to suggest a lack of awareness and a need for information on the part of students:
-Was never explained to me. Mobility impaired; College, ON Have not been told anything about these features. Blind/Visually impaired; University, ON
-I'm unaware of many of the things listed above. Deward of hearing; University, Atlantic Canada
As well, the open-ended responses tend to indicate concern on the part of students:
† I think the refuge areas in the new building look like concrete traps where a person might go to die. They look scary. Medical Disability; University, BC
-[Safety, emergency features] Brought to Administration's attention and a process is now being investigated and updated. Mobility impaired; University, BC
Specific understandings of problems with existing Safety and Emergency procedures were also cited:
† Emergency procedures are not practised although doors are marked with emergency signs, and emergency routes are indicated on diagrams on walls. There is an audio alarm but no visual one. Blind/Yisually impaired; University, Atlantic Canada
-Fire wardens in every building but never know who it is - they don't even know. No emergency phone on second floor and no way to alert someone if you are in the refuge area. Mobility impaired, Learning Disability; College, BC
In terms of on-campus housing and on-campus transportation, large proportions of students either rate a given feature as Not Available, Do Not Know or Not Stated. On the other hand, where these features are rated, students tend to rate them favourably (i.e. Excellent or Good rather than Fair or Poor) (see Charts 4.119 to 4.128 and 4.129 to 4.131).
In terms of open-ended responses, students identify the difficulties related to a lack of on-campus housing facilities for students with certain accessibility needs:
† I live off campus because residence not equipped to meet my needs. Def/Hard of hearing; University, Atlantic Canada
† I looked into the possibility of staying on campus. There is no accessible housing for wheelchairs, particularly for quads. In fact, there is only one housing building that I can get into. Mobility impaired; University, M
-Pas assez de toilette adaptes. Deficience motrice; Universite de Montreal, QC
Similarly, students provided a range of assessments of on-campus transportation services:
-Je dois utiliser le transport adapte de la CITE pour aller d'un pavillon a l'autre et je dois payer chaque fois. J'utilise un transporteur prive pour aller de ma residence au Cegep car il n'y a pas de transport adapte dans ma localite. Deficience motnce; Cegep, Qc
† Van driver is burned out and not always reliable. A part-time driver gave me a ride [...I and did not secure my wheelchair in place (with tie-downs) because he didn't know how. Campus van service is taken out of service on the last day of classes (each term). Therefore, van service is unavailable during exam period. Mobility impaired; University, ON
† Le service est excellent mais il serait important d'indiquer un point de rencontre sur le campus car tres souvent les chauffeurs ont de la difficulte a me retrouver sur le campus. Deficience motrice; Universite, QC
D. Educational Accessibility, Intake and Athletic Programs
Students were asked to rate a series of services related to educational accessibility and program intake, i.e.: Entrance Examinations (adaptations for exams and alternative test procedures); Preparation, Registration and Orientation (registration assistance, pre-registration for students with disabilities, TTY registration, study courses, orientation workshops, tours, mobility orientation, and classroom relocation); as well as Athletic Programs and Facilities for PWDs (adapted athletic/fitness programs, adapted athletic/fitness equipment, athletic/fitness specialists assistance with course materials).
Again, where ratings were provided, students tended to rate Entrance Examinations and Preparation, Registration and Orientation services highly. The majority of students were unaware of most disability-specific features (TDDITTY registration capabilities, mobility orientation). Notably, a full 69% (2401349) of students indicated that they Did Not Know about TTY registration - a possible explanation is the relatively small percentage of students who require this type of service.
Students provided detailed descriptions of their experiences with Entrance Examinations. For instance one student noted a specific problem with nationally-administered exams:
-Getting into my current program was not a problem. My department (with the exception of two professors) doesn't know about my disability. Now I would like to apply to medical school, so I need to write the MCAT (which most schools insist on). The service which administers the MCAT will allow students extra time to write the test, etc. with documentation, but then they flag the scores and let the schools know that the student's test was written under special conditions. I feel that this is totally discriminatory since I don't want to have to explain to any schools why I need those accommodations. ADD could be seen as a weakness. The whole purpose of having accommodations is to make it a level playing field. Learning Disability; University, ec
Students also specified the need for preparation, registration and orientation services:
† I think that students should be counselled to help relieve anxiety about whether they can do it or not (or attend a few classes prior to deciding). I was so anxious that I purchased a hearing device worth $100 that I did not actually need because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to hear well enough. Medical Disability; University, Atlantic Canada
While other students described problems with and solutions for preparation, registration and orientation services:
† C'est le service d'integration qui fait tout I'ouvrage. I1 contacte m6me les professeurs au debut de chaque session si l'on veut. I1 envoie alors un pamphlet decrivant les obstacles environnementaux qu'on pouvait rencontrer en cours de session (retard re: a cause de transport, temperature, etc.) Dificience motnce; Universitk, QC
† People with disabilities can't do anything until OSAP as well as Special Needs bursary comes in. I couldn't get my books on tape, a tutor or help until I got OSAP which unfortunately was October 31. "Student Awards" helped when they could and were great. Learning Disability; College, ON
† Better orientation in and around any educational institution to be attended by a visually impaired student is of paramount importance. This would reduce significantly the stress of the unknown environment. Blind/Visually impaired; University, Atlantic Canada
Similarly, some students identified successes, while other identified problems with classroom relocation (e.g.):
† On relocalise les salles sans avertir les etudiants. Ckcitk/Dbficience visuelle; Universitd, QC
† Relocation on account of disabilities highly unlikely. Medical Disability; University, ON
† The Services for Students with Disabilities will arrange relocation of an inaccessible class within a day. Learning Disability; University, AB
As well, students who need special athletic programs and facilities described specific problems. For instance:
† The gym is too hard for me to get into. I need security to open a special door each time. Mobility Impairment, Learning Disability: College, ON
E. Educational Accessibility and Academic Accommodation
Students were asked to rate a series of services related to educational accessibility and academic accommodation: i.e. ; Assistance with Lecture Notes, Assignments and Research Papers (note takers, photocopy pass, computer access, library assistance, on-campus readers, editing help, peer tutoring service, proof reading, sign interpreters, oral interpreters, remediation skills, NCR paper, lap-top computer, and other specialized note-taking services); Text-Book Access (on-campus large print, texts, braille texts, talking books, page turners, CCTV, and assistance retrieving special texts); Support for Instructors (assistance with alternate teaching strategies, in-service training, case-by-case representation to instructors, and notification to instructors by administration); Student Services for Persons with Disabilities (vocational assessment, psycho-educational assessments, counselling, assistance with job placement, and tutoring); Course Requirements (oral examinations, extended exam time, formula to calculate extended time, private rooms for writing, alternative formats, exam study assistance, writers, readers, and modification of courselprogram requirements).
Most students had had some experience accessing academic support services and the majority rated note-takers, computer access, and library assistance services as Good or Excellent (Chart 4.145, Chart 4.147, Chart 4.148).
In the open-ended responses, some students again indicated a lack of awareness, as well as a strong need for assistance with lecture notes, assignments and research papers, as well as for other academic support services. For instance:
† [Assistance with lecture notes, assignments, research papers] I wish many of these things were available to me though I am unaware of whether they are. Deaf/Hard of hearing; University, Atlantic Canada
† [Assistance with lecture notes, assignments, research papers] Really wish I had electronic note taker. Deaf/Hard of hearing; University, ON
† [Assistance with lecture notes, assignments, research papers] These things would be very helpful. Learning Disability; College, ON
† [Student services for persons with disabilities] I was never offered any of these services. Mobility impaired; University, ON
Students also provided a range of assessments regarding the quality of assistance with lecture notes, assignments and research papers (e.g.):
† [Assistance with lecture notes, assignments, research papers] My profs are excellent at providing me with lecture notes prior to classes. Learning Disability; University, M
† [Assistance with lecture notes, assignments, research papers] I was given paper and had to find a classmate to take notes. Learning Disability; College, AB
† [Assistance with lecture notes, assignments, research papers] The note taker/study coach availability is hit or miss ... The Disabled Students coordinator said that I should not expect much when they are only paid $8.00/hour ... Medical Disability; University, BC
† [Assistance with ...I There is no "specialized" help for students with disabilities, which is why I scaled this question the way I did. Students with disabilities have the same access to these services as every other student does. Blind/Visually impaired; University, QC
They also described a range of funding arrangements for assistance with lecture notes, assignments and research papers (e.g.):
† [Assistance with lecture notes, assignments, research papers] My assistants are independent of the university -- ie. through insurance. Without the insurance assistance, going to school would be impossible. Mobility impaired; University, A4
† [Assistance with lecture notes, assignments, research papers] Nous choisissons nous-m8me nos personnes ressources. Nous sommes consideres comme les employeurs. NCR -> nous devons l'acheter et demander au Ministere de nous rembourser. Deficience motrice; Universite, QC
While most students were unable to evaluate the various features of text-book access, among those who could, open-ended responses indicated that the process of obtaining alternative format material is problematic:
† The Bookstore staff is willing to help in any way they can. All you have to do is ask. Mobility Impairment, Leaming Disability; College, ON
† [Text-book access] I get my text books taped (wasn't sure what category that is). The service from the audio library is excellent, though there is some delay in getting materials. Learning Disability; University, ON
† [Text-book access] To get a book on cassette this last time took over a month. Learning Disability; College, AB
† [Text-book access] Ontario, on the whole, has a poor talking book system. There is an organization in the U.S. for the fee of $75 that is so much better. It would be pointless to even attempt to access [The University's] talking book system. Leaming Disability; University, ON
† [Text-book access] Very poor in this area. Blind/Visually impaired, Other- Diabetes; College, A tlantic Canada
With respect to instructors (and support for them), some students identified problems (e.g.):
† [Support for instructors] The attitude of individual instructors varies. I have been at it for six years - officially disabled for five. I am tired of explaining. If an instructor seems unempathetic, I am out of luck or I quit the course. Instructors who know someone with my condition seem most understanding. Medical Disability; University, BC
† [Support for instructors] The instructors don't seem to really know what the needs are or how best to help the student. But for the most part they are very cooperative and more than willing to help. Blind/Visually impaired; University, Atlantic Canada
† [Support for instructors] Some instructors do not want to know about your disability. They rely on Disability Services to arrange tests or exams. Disability Services will send a form letter if student does not want to approach an instructor. Mobility impaired, Learning Disability; College, BC
† [Administrative support] One of my professors was extremely helpful, but one was difficult. Completely unsympathetic (though that's not imperative) and not helpful re: alternate exam times, and would not deal with my assistant instead of me. Medical Disability; University, BC
Other students identified specifically problems of communication between administration or faculty in the case of support for instructors. For example:
† [Support for instructors] It depended. While in my program, I couldn't register as a special needs student because my marks were too high, meant professors weren't notified promptly. This led to difficulties. Mobility impaired; University, ON
† [Support for instructors] Though administration and support services may suggest alternate teaching strategies, the instructor does not have to follow them. Mobility impaired, Medical Disability, Other; College, BC
Most students were also able to assess the provision of extended exam time, with more than three quarters of all respondents rating it as Good or Excellent (Chart 4.175). Yet despite the fact that students made good use of this service, at least one third were unaware of whether there was a formula in place to calculate extended time (Chart 4.176). Almost half of all students indicated that they did not know whether course/program modifications were available. A fairly high proportion (over 10%) rated this as Fair or Poor while less than 20% rated this feature as Good or Excellent (4.181).
Again, with respect to examination accommodations, students provided details about specific experiences. This involved either a positive assessment (e.g.):
† Extra time is never a problem. Blindhisually impaired; University, Atlantic Canada
† Professors were very accommodating. Some were unfamiliar with procedure so I had to explain it to them. Mobility impaired; University, ON
Or, it involved identification of the absence of exam accommodation (e.g):
† Profs will not give alternatives. Psychology Department is not adaptable in this area Mental Health Disability, Other-Non-declared Leaming Disability; University,
† J'ai des problemes a avoir une periode prolongee d'examen malgre que j'ecrit lentement / handicap moteur. Deficience motrice; Cegep, QC
† Not given time needed for exams. Learning Disability; College, ON
† Art History course does not allow me to take an exam in a private room or allow for extra time because the exam includes slides and can only be done in the classroom. Multiple; College, A B
Or, students described problems or shortcomings with existing examination accommodation (e.g.):
† Very poor formula to calculate extended time at our school. Before I arrived here, I thought that all students with ADD could receive at least time and a half for exams (that's what I'd always read in books). Here I had to show them I really needed time and a half. "Standard" ADD accommodations include stopwatch time, i.e. interrupted time with permission to take breaks whenever you want, which is helpful but alone is not enough since having your attention wander is not always a conscious process. Also, taking an official break in itself disrupts your concentration. Perhaps having NEADS support/provide "standard" accommodations guidelines for various disabilities would be helpful. Leaming Disability; University, QC
F. Accessibility Programs, Administration and Volunteers
Students were also asked to rate a series of services related to Accessibility Programs (human resources, required budget for services/programs, program administration, senior administrative commitment, an overall policy on access for students, a policy that covers specific disabilities (eg. learning disabled), in-service training for all employees, and facultyldepartmental cooperation); and Volunteer Services.
In the case of accessible administrative support and policy feature, as might be expected, the majority of students (50% or greater) reported that they Did Not Know, or did Not State a rating.
On the other hand, some students were aware that a policy did or did not exist and roughly one fifth of respondents rated overall access policy as Fair or Poor (Chart 4.186). While just over half of all students Did Not Know or did Not State a rating for required budget for services, those who rated the feature as Fair or Poor outnumbered those who gave it a Good or Excellent rating (Chart 4.183). Students in open-ended responses also described attempts to change or implement policies, or described specific attempts to develop and/or implement policies. For example:
† This institution has no written policy for the disabled. The student with a disability is made to feel they should feel privileged that anything at all is done in a lecture hall. Blind/Visually impaired; University, ON
† Special Services dept. trying to implement working policy; With "red tape", the "bureaucrats", it's difficult. Special Services admin. is excellent. Medical Disability; University, ON
† There is general policy in place and in-staff training available. Keep in mind that application and understanding of these policies are quite another thing. Budget for services/programs and commitment are by no means a top priority. Mobility impaired; University, ON
Similarly, students described specific problems with administrative support (e.g.):
† Professors are very helpful but there doesn't seem to be much training going on at the administrative level. Blind7visually impaired; University, A tlmtic Cmada
† Administration does not explain policies to students (not to me anyway) Detff/Hard of hearing; University, M
† La bureaucratie amene parfois de petites difficultes cle comprehension entre les ressources. Dtficience motrice; Universitt, QC
† The financial aid office was not knowledgeable about how to apply for the grants available from the provincial and federal governments for students with disabilities. Medical Disability; University, BC
G. Accessibility of External Community
Students were asked to rate a series of services related to External or Community Accessibility (liaison with public schools, Cegeps, other post-secondary institutions, service providers and community agencies, government agencies, and other resources); and Transportation (transit on campus, accessible public transit, and cost of accessible public transit).
Most students were unable to rate their institutions efforts at Liaison with the External Community. However, a fairly high proportion of those who rated liaison with government agencies deemed this Fair or Poor (over 15%) (Chart 4.195). On-campus transit was rated as Good or Excellent by one-fifth of all respondents but strikingly another one-fifth indicated that on-campus service was Not Available (Chart 4.197). Many respondents did know whether accessible public transit was provided, although most rated it as Good or Excellent (Chart 4.198). The cost of accessible public transit, on the other hand, was rated as Fair or Poor more frequently than Good or Excellent (Chart 4.199).
Students provided some problems with community transportation (e.g.):
† Have public transport stop for disabled with automatic doors at C Building, but there are no elevators except in A and D Buildings. Mobility impaired; Cegep, QC
† Very costly. Mental Health, Other-Non-declared Leaming Disability; University, ON
† Too expensive. Learning Disability; College, ON
† Students with physical disabilities pay a concession fare for BC Transit, i.e. two-thirds of an adult fare. Other-Loss of fine motor control; University, BC